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Catnip... who knew?

Described by botanist and taxonomist Linnaeus in 1753 as “flowers in a stalked, interrupted spike,” Nepeta cataria is cultivated as a perennial ornamental that likes full sun. Not only pretty, like many botanicals, catnip has multiple applications.
The magic elixir from catnip is terpenoid nepetalactone, which is the main chemical constituent of plant’s essential oil, extracted by steam distillation.
Cat fun: Catnip is well known for it’s behavioural effects on cats – domestic and wild. Cats love it! They like to roll in it, lick it and chew it. Consuming the plant has a drowsy effect, along with purring and drooling. Fun catnip fact: Not all cats like catnip. Roughly a third are not affected by it. The behaviour is thought to be hereditary.
Easy to care for perennial: It attracts butterflies and is drought tolerant.
Biological control: It repels aphids and squash bugs – the compound iridodial, extracted from catnip oil, attracts lacewings, which eat aphids and mites. It keeps away some mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites – in the garden. Catnip is also deer-resistant.
Culinary use: Catnip can be brewed to produce an herbal tea, used as a culinary herb, or be smoked in the form of herbal cigarettes. It has also be used in fruit table wines.
Medical application: Tinctures, infusions and poultices can be made from the dried leaves and flowers of catnip, which has been used to treat many ailments, including intestinal cramps, diarrhea, colds and indigestion.


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